"You can't struggle with an anxiety," she said, "You're too outgoing!"
It took a lot of courage for me to admit out loud that I was dealing with crippling fear on a daily basis. The whole group of women I had just laid my soul bare to, looked at me with doubt in their eyes. There is nothing worse for an anxious person to feel than to feel that no-one believes them.
"You are so extroverted! I would NEVER have thought you struggled with fear, " another woman added.
True to my extroverted, outgoing nature I gave the people what they wanted and cracked a joke to lighten the room,
"Surprise!" I said, "I guess I'm coming out of the anxiety closet!"
Everyone laughed and moved on to talking about something else and I... I felt alone.
There is misconception out there that folks who struggle with anxiety are timid, quiet, hermit-like people. Who started this nasty rumor?
Newsflash: Anxiety affects all personality-types. Spread the word! Anxiety affects all kinds of people but it can look different for each person. Some of us have not picked up on the signs and symptoms of friend who struggles with chronic worry simply because we have assumed that their personality is too "outgoing" to be "fearful".
HERE ARE FOUR THINGS YOUR OUTGOING + ANXIOUS FRIEND WANTS YOU TO KNOW:
1. "Even though I am energized by people, my anxiety is often triggered by people."
Panic attacks have been triggered by all kinds of the things, but many extroverts are triggered by an overwhelming feeling that they are letting everyone down. People are very important to outgoing personalities and whatever you consider most important, you will almost most fear losing.
2. "I often feel most anxious when I am alone."
Nighttime can be the worst time of the day for outgoing types. All the people are sleeping and the extrovert is left alone with their thoughts. It's the prime time to lie in bed and count all the worries. Extended periods of time without people can make them feel nervous. Isolation is breeding ground to create "worst scenarios" in the mind because being around people makes an outgoing person feel safer...and being without people makes them feel vulnerable.
3. "Though I appear like the 'life of the party' at times... I don't always feel like the 'life of the party'."
Outgoing people are often mistaken as confident people but insecurity is something we all face. Sometimes surrounding themselves with people gives an extrovert a brief distraction from dealing with their own feelings of failure.
4. "I need you to reach out to me too."
Outgoing people tend to be the initiators of social contact but in times of anxiety they need their friends to reach out to them. They need a call, a note, a "Hey. Is everything okay?". One of the most overwhelming things that an outgoing + anxious friend is battling is the belief that "No one cares."
Your outgoing and anxious friend needs YOU to be their safe person they can fall apart in front of. They need you to not question the validity of what they are going through but rather offer a hand they can hold onto.
Always your friend,
Are YOU a person who struggles with anxiety?
Listen to this podcast episode: "HOW I NAVIGATE ANXIETY + FRIENDSHIP".
Grab this FREE resource: "5 AFFIRMATIONS FOR AN ANXIOUS HEART"